24 June 2008

Loose Leash Walking--She Passed Level 2

I'd been procrastinating working on LLW because I didn't expect it to go very well. Molly used to be a die hard puller and I'd tried a lot of things on her.

Then I finally listened when people told me to buy a front lead harness, so Molly got her BeBop front lead harness. It was like we had a whole new Molly. From the day we put it on her, she quit pulling. She is still eager to get her harness on, so we know it doesn't bother her.

Then a few times DH put her leash on her collar instead of her harness and she didn't really pull there either. The positive attitude about walking her when she didn't pull must have taught her how great it was not to pull.

Even though she learned not to pull that way, there is still a long way to go to walking on a loose leash. Molly tended to hold her leash tight but not pull.

So the Levels Book starts out with an unusual goal for LLW--the ability to stand still on a loose leash. But really it makes sense. If you can't keep your leash loose standing around, how are you going to walk with it loose when you need to worry about how the other person is moving?

With Molly not pulling, I've been working on getting her to have her leash loose. I've done only two formal training sessions. Both went from living room to outside. If the leash was loose, we went forward towards outside. If it was tight, I stood still. If the leash stayed tight for more than 5 secs, I backed up. The first time I trained it took her a while to "get it". Her second training session was this morning, when she could easily let a loose leash hang for 30 secs, after which I clicked and treated--I wanted to build up to the test to make sure she understood that I wanted her to stand still and let the leash hang loose.

Between those two formal sessions, I did a lot of training while doing small walks around here and other places. If she walked with a tight leash, I'd stop and wait. If she didn't quickly let the leash hang loose again, I'd take a few steps back and wait. With that happened often and usually when there was something she really wanted to do, she has actually learned that she gets somewhere on a loose leash but not so far on a tight one. She never pulls on the harness and I rarely walk her on the collar, but she has responded well to the same treatment the few times I've tried.

So after dinner tonight, I decided I wanted to test her and see if she could do it. She'd really impressed me this morning with how stable she was on a loose leash. We needed a distraction to work near, so we went outside where DH was trimming the hedge.

I tested several times with stopping and waiting. She had no problems waiting a minute on the loose leash before I moved on. When moving, I noticed she was leaving the leash very loose then as well. So once I was sure she passed the L2 test with standing, I decided to try testing her for the Level 3 test.

The level 3 test requires the dog to walk on a loose leash for 40 feet in a straight line with no more than two cues. We tried and she did it perfectly--the clip on the leash hung the entire time and most of the time the leash dragged on the floor. To be sure it wasn't a fluke, I tested twice more, walking distances of about 20 meters, which is well over the required, and she did it again both times. We were out in the pony pasture and moving towards DH, who she loves, and he was talking part of the time.

So Molly has passed LLW at L2 and L3 today. Passing it at L2 finished the last of her required behaviors for finishing that level!!! So now we are well into level 3 with as many behaviors as we have tested and trained already. You can see how Molly is doing by checking her training journal and scoreboard.

After all that testing, we took off the leash and harness and just had fun in the pasture. She loves to play with the sticks DH cuts from the hedges and also enjoyed just sniffing around the empty pasture and running in the high grass. Of course I used the opportunity to test her recall several times, which is still doing great at well over 20 meters. I'd call her in, pet her, and let her go back to what she was doing. Other times I'd call her to me then play with her a bit after I'd given her a sit and taken a hold of her collar. Coming when called doesn't mean the game is over in this household.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

Hey well done Molly!
Sounds like she is doing really well Bex. :-)